Wednesday, May 27

Zahid says Malaysia ready to face any threat to security

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KOTA KINABALU: Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has given the assurance that the country’s security forces are ready to face any threat to the security in the wake of the warden notice issued by the United States Embassy on Friday.

“We take the notice seriously. I would like to assure that the safety of tourists and the local people will be our top priority and were are carrying out round-the-clock operations in these areas.

“I urged tourists, local and foreign, not to be unduly worried. Be careful but don’t worry. We are ready to face any threat to the security,” he told reporters after visiting the Sepanggar Naval Bay near here yesterday.

The notice, posted on the embassy’s website, among others, warned of what it said as indications that criminal and terrorist groups were planning acts of violence against foreigners in eastern Sabah.

It, however, acknowledged the Malaysian government’s “increased ability to detect, deter and prevent such attacks.”

While saying that the notice had its basis as the country’s intelligence also had the same information, Ahmad Zahid said, the early warning would help the security forces tightened the security.

“We will cooperate with foreign missions in the country and explain to them that there is nothing to worry. We are confident with our forces’ abilities,” he said.

Asked whether the notice indicated that criminals were not deterred by the increased security in the state’s east coast under the operation called ‘Ops Pasir’, Ahmad Zahid said there was a drastic decrease in the number of incidents since the launch of the operation 10 years ago.

The Ops Pasir was launched following the kidnapping incident in Sipadan Island in 2000. — Bernama